Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Monday, January 24, 2011

Setting Up The Crib

You know, people often talk about that 'moment of no return' -- that single define-able moment where, as they say in the funny pictures, "Shit just got real".

We set up the baby's crib this weekend, put everything into place, picked the colour of the sheets and even the very first outfit our little boy would wear.

Yeah, it was pretty intense. Happy. But intense.

I'm often on here talking about the 'birthing' process of my scripts -- from the horrible first draft (the 'vomit draft') to that one final moment when I put down my keyboard and say 'yes, this is ready for the world'.

Over the last eight months I've discovered that the two processes are nowhere near the same.

When I'm writing my story, from the moment I first envisage my characters, my world, my dialogue... it's there. I know it. I may change it or re-write it or end up scrapping it... but it, at some point, is known to me. It's all mine to control and change and mold as I see fit.

Yet I sit here with my wife, watching this little ball of life kick at her spleen or do back-flips inside her womb... and the enormity of the mystery overwhelms me. I sit here considering the variables -- so much outside of my control, so little that I will end up having a direct say in. I can guide but never truly control.

I watch this little guy, not even born yet -- an idea made flesh -- and I wonder about every little detail of his adventures to come. Who will he be? How will he interpret the world around him? What will he think of it? Will he be charming and gregarious? Will he be quiet and learned?

Who will be his friends? Who will be those that will stick by him through thick and thin, through things he can't bring himself to talk to us about?

There are so many things that I have a say in in my scripts. I control every facet of the world, every thought and word that my characters speak.

And yet this little man, influenced by me for a relatively short time, will defy me... just as sure as I defied my parents and they theirs. He will infuriate me and frustrate me and sadden me and impress me and surprise me.

I know all this as surely as I can know anything in this world.

And yet for all these things, and for everything that I cannot foresee, I can't believe how excited I am to meet this little stranger.

Man, February 15th is coming way too fast...


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Preserving The Anarchy

Here's a fantastic animated video that explains the concept of 'Net Neutrality' rather well, I think.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pinpointing The Problem

First off, I wanted to share a bit from yesterday's The Daily Show -- about the tragedy this past Saturday in Tucson -- that I felt really hit the nail on the head for me.

And yet, to watch how it all unfolded in the news and online... I'd like to say that it was shocking at how so many were quick to turn the 'bloody finger' toward one another... but it wasn't.

Sad to say, if there's one thing out of this whole situation that didn't surprise me it was the utter division it brought to the political spectrum.

Because if Jared Loughner wasn't a secret Liberal Commie Sympathizer then he was brainwashed by the violent rhetoric from the Conservative Right.

He's somebody else's problem.

Their monster, not ours.

I think that the easiest thing -- the most basic, simple thing -- one can do in this situation is to turn the blame on someone else; to look at the horror of what's transpired and have your own self-preservation be the primary and overriding thought.

And I think it's pathetic.

To be clear here, I'm glad that Congresswoman Giffords is breathing on her own now. I'm glad that there is one less death to be attributed to this stupid, stupid act.

But there are innocent people who are dead now and, as far as I can tell, their only crime was to get off their ass and get out and try to be a part of the running of their country; to exercise their duty (and right) in an active and healthy Democracy; to interact with their Congresswoman and try to make their Government make sense for them.

And they're dead now. Dead or wounded.

There's a little girl who's face is being plastered all over the news, this poor little girl who wanted to be a ballerina. And a Judge. A District Court Judge who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

But what about those other people?

As far as I can tell, there's exactly one story out there and it's about a man who died shielding his wife from a hail of bullets. But pretty much everything else I can find is about who's fault it is. Who is to blame, who stands to lose in the polls (hint: 2011's not looking good for Ms. Palin) and, by God, what will the President say when he gets down there?

For all the mud-slinging and trash-talking I'm seeing on the News, for all the 'that's not what I meants' and 'how dare you's?!' what I'm not seeing is the genuine grief for these ordinary folk and what they represent: That, agree with them or not, their claim to a healthy Democracy is only as strong as the one person willing to show up and substitute bullets for ballets.

I mean, seriously, how did we get to the point where we can no longer disagree with one another without engendering hatred? Without villain-izing each another? Without de-humanizing our 'enemies' to the point where someone can get it in their head that killing those you disagree with is acceptable?

Or something to be lauded?

I'm hopeful -- if there is any shred of goodness to come out of this -- that this tragedy will spark politicians and pundits and the media to think twice about the words they speak.

I think both sides could do with taking it down a notch or three.

But I'm even more hopeful that this tragedy will inspire others, other regular folk, to stand up where those innocent bystanders fell; that it might inspire others to get involved in the care and maintenance of their Government... to put aside the rhetoric and learn the facts for themselves.

Maybe then it might not be so hard to shelve such inane labels as 'Democrat' or 'Republican' or 'Liberal' or 'Conservative'. Maybe, just maybe, then it wouldn't be so damned hard to find a way to work together for the good of all.


P.S: On a not-entirely-related-but-somehow-still-relevant note:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Riveting Tale

Some of you may have already been following the story of the 'Homeless Man with the Golden Voice', some of you will be bombarded by it for the first time over the next couple of days. (I believe he's going to be on with Katie Couric tonight for the Evening news).

It's truly an amazing story and, to be honest, I've been totally caught up in it since it broke.

For those of you who may not know what the heck I'm talking about, here's the video that started it all -- it went viral early yesterday morning, I believe and currently sits at just under 5 and a half million views.

In the 24 or so hours that've followed, Ted Williams' story has become an internet sensation as people from around the world rallied to help grant this man his humbled request for a "second chance". In fact, if you're interested, you can see here a very active thread on Reddit.com where thousands came out of the woodwork to discuss the video, organize and try to help Mr. Williams.

This morning he found himself on WNCI, a local radio station, where it was revealed to him that job offers from around the world were pouring in -- from guest spots on MTV to a spot on a reality show to a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers (who also offered him a house! Audio of the offer here). One man even offered to donate $15,000 to the radio station so that they could afford to hire him.

For myself, on the outside looking into this tale, what's been so amazing is that through out everything that's happened to him he's been incredibly honest and humble -- from his open admission to the drug and alcohol abuse that ruined his life, to his even more open admission that there, in the radio station he really felt the need for a drink (he laughed it off though and said he'd be going to an AA meeting right away).

He's honest about when it's becoming overwhelming, he's honest about being unsure how to digest any of it.

And yet, thanks to the power of the internet and the media, his life has been changed almost overnight.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the reason I find it all so gripping is that we're literally watching the beginning of one man's redemption tale. One that he obviously deserves. In every video I've seen, in every audio interview I've heard, Mr. Williams has been honest and human and infinitely vulnerable.

No wonder we want him to succeed.

His life is changing before our eyes and I truly hope that he and his friends can help him stay grounded and safe in the face of this sudden success; that he might be able to continue to resist those urges and pull his life back together.

Good luck Mr. Williams!


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year, New Shows

So, while Mr. Henshaw has been looking back on shows that he's really enjoyed in the last year (a great list with some fantastic shows), I've decided to flip the script a bit.

Here are some shows that I'm actually looking forward to in 2011.

Whether they'll live up to the hype, that's another story... but for now, here's what I'm hoping to get a chance to watch once they're released to the world.

Being Human - American AND British versions

A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share a flat in Bristol. Easiest pitch in the world, right?

Well change Bristol to Boston cause the show's been brought state-side and is premiering in just under 2 weeks (Jan 17th).

As a fan of the UK version, I'm somewhat worried how it'll all translate -- from what I've seen it seems entirely too 'glossy', like they went and made everything as pretty as possible then tossed some dust and dirt around but forgot to lower the lighting (seriously, is it just me or does everything look too-perfectly lit?). Still, the cast looks interesting enough, and I'm willing to give it a chance.

That said, the guy playing the American version of 'Mitchell' (the vampire, now called 'Aidan' -- a nod to the UK version's actor Aidan Turner?) practically sparkles with his own square-jawed, chiseled feature-ness. Personally, I think they might've aimed a bit too Twilight/Vampire Diaries in their casting... but then again, those series are doing quite well so what the hell do I know?

On the other side of the pond, and certainly finding its way to our shores soon enough, the 3rd series of this show will be airing on BBC3 sometime in 2011. If series 3 is even remotely as good as series 2 then I'll be one happy lil' TV watcher. If you haven't had a chance to check out this show, now's a great time to get yourself caught up before series 3 gets off the ground.

Game Of Thrones

Now I'll state right off the top that I haven't yet read the books. I've had 'The Song of Fire and Ice' on my 'to-read' list for a while now, but I've never been able to sit down and get into it. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to it before it airs in April of this year. All I know is that everyone I know who's ever read this book has been raving about how amazing it is. Can't argue those kinds of reviews.

Though if you haven't yet read the book (and don't intend to), apparently Mr. Martin has said the TV series will closely follow the book's storylines. So... yeah, there's that.

On a side note, if you're a fan of the books/soon to be series, you might be interested in this *SPOILER-FILLED and in no way official* Season 2 outline for A Clash of Kings.

Since I've never read the books, it's like reading Sanskrit to me, but some of you may not be so lucky, so be forewarned. True, it's pretty much just the chapters of the book put into an 'outline' format for TV but I thought it was pretty neat and thought I'd share since I was on the subject.

True Blood

Granted, I can count the number of characters I like on this show on two fingers (Lafayette and Jessica) and nothing they've ever done has quite matched the brilliance of this single clip:

But apparently this is the season where the storyline (there's a storyline?) kicks into high gear. So... okay. Why not. When this show is going absolutely balls-to-the-wall insane (which it does, often), there's simply nothing else like it on TV for sheer entertainment. Count me in.

Lights Out

This new series -- about a retired boxer who, after learning that he's losing his mind to pugilistic dementia, turns to leg-breaking for loan sharks to support his family -- seems like it's either going to be dark as all hell or a fantastic tale of redemption. The set up sort of feels like 'Breaking Bad' meets Boxing but given FX's track record for putting together some seriously solid programming, I'm going to give this one a long hall pass based entirely off the trailer. It premieres on January 11th, so mark your calendars people.

Borderline Shows

These are shows that I've only got a passing curiosity for. I'll give them my usual 3 episode glance but if they don't stack up, I'll have no qualms in dropping them *cough* No Ordinary Family *cough*

The Cape

Okay, this is going to be campy. I know it. Spider-silk capes, circus freaks (has no one yet learned from Heroes' mistake?) and a loving dad trying to clear his name with a mask stapled to his forehead.

That said, it's got Vinnie Jones playing a villain called 'Scales'... so... okay. Fine. You get 3 episodes. Please don't suck.

Off The Map

I'll admit it, I liked the first season of Grey's Anatomy. I sort of fell away from the show around the second season, but I actually dug the first season. I never got into Private Practice (tho' I did give it 3 eps) but I figured, "aww hell, why not?" with Shonda Rhimes' next series 'Off The Map'. Now, yes, the previews for the show aren't exactly thrilling me, but I'm intrigued enough to set my DVR up for a 3-peat.

Also: +1 for casting Caroline Dhavernas (of Wonderfalls fame).

We'll see.